GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former Detroit Lion will be laid to rest this weekend — one week after he was killed in a car crash.
D.J. Hayden was one of six people killed when a driver ran a red light early in the morning on Saturday, Nov. 11, in Houston. Hayden and two of his former University of Houston teammates — Zachary McMillan and Ralph Oragwu — were killed in the crash, along with the at-fault driver, a female passenger and a pedestrian.
Hayden was a star cornerback at the University of Houston. He was selected with the 12th overall pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Houston native played four seasons with the Raiders before signing a one-year deal with the Lions.
He served primarily as a backup for the 2017 Lions, starting one game, recovering two fumbles and recording 44 total tackles.
The following offseason, Hayden signed with the Jaguars and played three seasons in Jacksonville. He signed with Washington and played one game with the franchise before he was eventually released.
According to News 8’s Houston affiliate KPRC, Hayden had been working as an assistant coach at Second Baptist School this season. The team was together Saturday morning for a workout when they learned the news.
The Lions issued a statement after the news of Hayden’s death broke. It said, “We join the NFL family in mourning the loss of former Lions cornerback D.J. Hayden. We will fondly remember D.J.’s determination and love for the game of football. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday for Hayden. He was 33 years old.